The Shanghai Municipal Administration for Market Regulation (Shanghai AMR) warned 12 Chinese e-commerce platforms, including Meituan [3690:HK] and Alibaba’s [BABA:US] Ele.me, against pricing irregularities in agricultural products amid Shanghai’s Covid-19 lockdown, as reported by The Paper on April 18. The regulator summoned these e-commerce platforms to ensure their compliance in operation during pandemic prevention and control. The Shanghai AMR also requested the platforms to enhance oversight of bulk purchases, management of delivery workers, and curb the arbitrarily raising of errand fees charged by delivery workers.
In response to the regulation, Meituan and Ele.me said they would take measures to improve the quality of their service and stabilize delivery fees. Other delivery platforms also pledged to set up teams to increase oversight, set upper limits on commodity prices, and remove goods with unreasonable pricing or price gouging. During the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai, local market authorities have been closely monitoring the prices of commodities and epidemic prevention products, and punishing illegal pricing practices. Overall, Shanghai has issued 41,214 warning letters and processed 224 complaints since March 14. Furthermore, the city published a new rule stating that price gouging during the outbreak might result in a maximum fine of RMB3m (USD0.47m).